Interview with Ash Dafoe, Youth Worker
Tell us about yourself and your position at YESS!
Hello, my name is Ash (she/they) and I’m a youth worker at the Armoury Resource Centre. I get to support our youths with connecting to resources and programming.
What particular principles or processes does YESS have to ensure that programs are a safe space for youth who identify as 2SLGBTQ+ and may be on a journey of healing when it comes to their sexuality or gender identity?
YESS provides a safe space for youth who are a journey of self-discovery through inclusive language, resources, and programming. We strive to provide gender affirming care with support from our allies. The diversity in us as front-line workers who have and are continuing to walk this journey while welcoming and empowering youth to grow in their own ways, creates a positive impact on our surrounding community, and the lives of our youths.
Why is it important to create this kind of safety for youth? Both in YESS programs and in the wider community?
We at YESS stand on our non-judgmental policy and teach others to view differences as the wholly beautiful human experiences that they are. When we work to integrate our youth into their local communities, we hope they carry these life lessons with them, making those communities more diverse, inclusive, and caring.
Pride is about activism, but it is also a celebration! What is the impact of 2SLGBTQ+ youth having opportunities to celebrate themselves and share joy?
As we support these youth on their journeys, and by unconditionally accepting them into our community, we are empowering them to love themselves. When someone is truly accepted, truly welcomed to the table, and they come to love their whole self, this is what makes the world a better place.
What is one thing you wish the community knew about youth who access YESS?
I would love for the community to know that each and every one of the youth who have accessed YESS deserve to feel unconditionally loved, welcomed to the table, and empowered to love exactly who they are, right now, and in the future.